Visual Artist Joshua Vides talks innovative collaboration with GilletteLabs

Visual Artist Joshua Vides talks innovative collaboration with GilletteLabs

Joshua Vides is a creative marvel in true form. 

Having lent his artistic powers to design products for brands like New Balance, BMW, Converse, Fendi, Puma and others, the California-based creative director is never short on innovation. For more than a decade, Vides has fused his passion for streetwear and graffiti and poured it into his craft. His production studio Reality to Idea has served as the perfect incubator for his footwear and apparel designs, sketch artwork and other creations to take shape. 

Before becoming a premiere name in streetwear and design, Vides worked for The Hundreds, SSUR, The Seventh Letter and ComplexCon as a designer, salesman and marketing manager in 2009. Around the same time, he founded the streetwear brand CLSC, a $500 project that later became a global entity with 400 retailers and a storefront on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. 

Vides decided to step away from CLSC in April 2017 and used the brand’s success as momentum to pursue his dream of becoming an artist. Vides launched Reality to Idea in January 2018, and the design studio and production house has been a platform for him to explore his love for black and white monochromatic mediums and spread his wings artistically. Whether designing sneakers and apparel pieces, customizing iconic BMW silhouettes or putting on limited edition art exhibits, Vides has shown no signs of slowing up. And his recent collaboration with Gillette at this year’s ComplexCon is proof. 

The brand’s design and innovation hub, GilletteLabs, and Reality to Idea came together for an activation booth that offered an interactive look at the shaving experience. The Reality To Idea-designed booth highlighted GilletteLabs’ latest innovation, GilletteLabs with Exfoliating Bar, a razor that combines shaving and exfoliation technology. And as a continuation of the partnership and a testament to Vides’ versatility, he customized cleats for NFL Quarterbacks Josh Allen and Mac Jones for the My Cause My Cleats program. The two football stars wore the cleats during the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills matchup on Dec. 1.

For Vides, the GilletteLabs collaboration, and others he’s stirred over the years, was a chance to embrace his own creative instincts and showcase the power art contains. “As a visual artist, I find collaborations to be an avenue of self-expression on different mediums and products,” Vides explained to Complex. “Showing off how anything can really become a canvas and art Itself.”

Complex recently caught up with Vides to talk about his artistic inspirations, the details of his creative process and how art can be a tool for philanthropy. 

(The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.) 

COMPLEX: How was it designing the GilletteLabs activation booth at ComplexCon?

Joshua Vides: ComplexCon is always something I enjoy being a part of. Reality To Idea was excited to partner with Gillette because it’s an iconic brand that most men have used since they first started shaving. They gave Reality To Idea the creative space to help bring their GilletteLabs brand to ComplexCon attendees in an innovative and authentic way. It was a great experience bringing the GilletteLabs booth to life, and everyone at ComplexCon had a great time with the photo booth and shaves with the Gillette Barbers.

How did the collaboration between your company Reality to Idea and GilletteLabs come together?

The collaboration really came together through the common mission that we share. At Reality to Idea, we are always looking for new ways to be at the forefront of culture and innovation. When GilletteLabs approached us to showcase their latest innovation of GilletteLabs with Exfoliating Bar, we knew it would be a cool partnership.

You’ve partnered with some of the biggest brands in the world – Fendi, MLB, New Balance and others – but what about this project piqued your interest?

I’ve been lucky to partner with so many celebrated brands. In the men’s grooming space, Gillette is often viewed as synonymous with the category, so when I was approached, I saw it as an opportunity to bring my skill set to another brand that has an incredible legacy and continues to create innovative products.

Image Gillette Labs Josh Vides ComplexCon
Image via Complex Original


What was the inspiration behind the design of the activation?

We wanted the design of the booth to remind people of a barbershop, with a Reality to Idea spin. We used our signature black and white color scheme and added pops of bright green, which is an ode to the exfoliating bar on the GilletteLabs razor and packaging. Gillette wanted to do something completely different than last year’s ComplexCon booth, but (the brand) still wanted to emphasize the unique experience that the barbershop provides.

Could you detail what the creative process was like? Were there any challenges along the way?

I think there are always some unique challenges that present themselves when working with new products, especially when it comes to designing on such a large scale. It was important the GilletteLabs booth and the design of the smaller original pieces we made for the gallery all worked well together in the space.

Gillette Labs Cleats Josh Vides
Image via GilletteLabs


You designed the cleats of NFL Quarterbacks Josh Allen and Mac Jones ahead of the  New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills game on Dec. 1. How was that experience?

I always enjoy working on shoe projects and collaborations. I have been painting on shoes since high school, so for me, it really feels like second nature. It was awesome to get connected with Josh Allen and Mac Jones, who are Gillette athletes, to work on their My Cause My Cleats cleat designs. I wanted to make sure they felt the design reflected the charities they are both representing – Mac Jones with Boys & Girls Club of America and Josh Allen with the Patricia Allen Fund. I was so happy to play a part.

The designed cleats are being auctioned off and the proceeds will go to charity as part of the My Cause My Cleats campaign. Talk about how important it is for you and other artists to be a part of these kinds of initiatives.

It’s important to me to find ways to give back through my work, and team up with partners who do the same. As an artist, I’m able to showcase the power of art to all different audiences, including through the cleat designs for Allen and Jones. I’m excited to see what the winning bid is for both sets of autographed cleats. Gillette and I will also be matching the donations from the online auction.

Bid on Mac Jones “My Cause My Cleats” Cleats here and Josh Allen’s “My Cause My Cleats” Cleats here.

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